Next year will be the most difficult yet for health services
In the opening gambit for Budget 2016, Minister Michael Noonan promised "more doctors and nurses" as "sensible and affordable" measures. Minister Howlin hailed it as "the second budget in succession in which we are able to increase support for our public services".
What neither ministers Noonan nor Howlin admitted was that the small additional money for health in 2016 is not enough to maintain even current levels of health services. Not to mind addressing the high levels of unmet need or going in any way towards making up for seven years of harsh austerity cuts to health.
Unmet need is most evident in the thousands of people waiting years for essential diagnosis and treatment and the 469 people on trolleys on Budget Day.